Mike Hughes and Matt Goldberg Step Back Into the Montreal Fringe with an Improvised Elegance
As a playwright, I hate when anyone asks me to improvise. My first idea is my worst idea, that much I know and that much I insist upon if anyone should ever ask me to think on my feet. It isn't any surprise, then, that as an audience member, I love the momentum of good improv: "Listen, accept, speak or act a new offer, and we move forward and we move forward and we move forward" and the narrative never stills. Story is constantly stirred by basic principles and irredeemably quick, courageous and generous storytellers. The journey is the thrill, the destination could be somewhat meaningless, no one will notice. Improv artists are narrative magicians. And Mike Hughes and Matt Goldberg are two of our favourites.
You may know Hughes and Goldberg from their long-term engagement and Fringe presence with Uncalled For comedy troupe. Famous for their 7-years hosting the late-night Fringe Cabaret The 13th Hour, Uncalled For quickly became Montreal's most celebrated comedic coup de maître, knocking audiences out with their stellar collectively devised sketch comedy pieces which have toured between Montreal and Toronto for the past eleven years. In 2011, the collective retired their cabaret from the festival. Now, at this year's Montreal Fringe Hughes and Goldberg, two men who take pride in their 15 year comedy love affair and who have been improvising together since high school, come together to explore high-brow humour through a high-energy kaleidoscope.
The show is completely improvised. There are two mainstays: First, the absurdity. The show takes place in "a quasi-serious, quasi-absurd, quasi-magical world of quasi-men", Goldberg tells me. He then takes back the statement, thinks hesitantly...And remains unable to define the show. "The goal is really to explore a relationship between two men in a somewhat Victorian setting, and take a long time to solve their problems." His statement speaks true to the clown-improv testament: The goal is the journey, not the destination.
The two writer-performers do, in fact, have the perfect blend of clown, improv and storytelling. Hughes recently performed as a clown for several years in Cirque Du Soleil's Dralion and Goldberg is the producer of Confabulation, a monthly Montreal story-telling event as well as co-founder of Montreal's only podcast network No More Radio. These two performers have a unique understanding of how to engage an audience. Live improv is a pleasure when performers commit to loving the audience and to having the audience love them back.
The second mainstay: The show is completely new every night. Completely improvised, the show stands out in the repertoire of Fringe improv and sketch this year because the two performers are focused on creating a world with acknowledged rules. The two characters therefore not only have to exist in the world together but they have to create it together and remain in it for nearly an hour. Absurdities are immediate, so satisfying, and growing, always growing, in the impeding, forceful riot that is this show. Since the show is completely new every night, so too will be the world and the characters, their ticks, histories, loves, hates, favourite idioms and anecdotes. And you can see it more than once. And you can laugh more and more each time. You can be a fan. Join the fan club.
CHECK IT OUT
A Bandolier of Dreams opens this Thursday June 12n at Theatre Ste-Catherine.
Additional runs on June 14-15, 17-19, 21-22.
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